Rediscovering Bell’s copper mine on the upper Mersey

Mineral prospectors were not defined only by their successes. Their failures were necessary learning experiences. Mining is a fickle business, with success depending not only on the presence of a rich and enduring ore body but other factors such as market prices, accessibility and, sometimes, the public imagination. Lincolnshire-born prospector WR (William Robert) Bell (1830–1911) … Read moreRediscovering Bell’s copper mine on the upper Mersey

The search for the Fossey flume – part 2

This search happened years ago but it is never too late to talk about an interesting but forgotten piece of history.  Without knowing it, Nic started the search for the Fossey flume when he sent two pictures to Ian. He was hooked straight-away.  They were sections of a flume, part of the extensive water system … Read moreThe search for the Fossey flume – part 2

Finding the Fossey flume – part 1

Water was everything at the Mount Bischoff Tin Mine. Rain pelting on Waratah meant tin ingots shipped to London and coin rattling in shareholders’ pockets. The ‘Bischoff mist’ ensured that cassiterite (tin ore) was separated from its host rock. On the mountain itself, water from the Summit Dam snaked its way down the slopes, supplying … Read moreFinding the Fossey flume – part 1

They Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 2 – 2019

In July 2019 bad weather battered the same high country that had claimed Yates 110 years before.  It brought thick snow and freezing conditions.  Walkers were caught out.  Two experienced bushwalkers in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park set off their EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).  Helicopter and ground rescue parties were hampered by … Read moreThey Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 2 – 2019

They Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 1 – 1909

Many people have become lost in the Tasmanian high country.  These days it is bushwalkers. In the past it was bush workers; prospectors, snarers, cattlemen and explorers. A few were ill-prepared.  Most were unlucky.  Even the most prepared and experienced people can be caught when the weather suddenly changes to bring wind, rain or snow.  … Read moreThey Will Always Try to Find You – Searches in the Tasmanian High Country – Part 1 – 1909

The Colebrook Fiasco – Part 3 – The fiasco

Introduction The last two blogs told the story of the rich copper mine at the top of Colebrook Hill.  The prospect was inspected and dissected by some of the best mining men in the country.  The hill seemed to be a huge deposit that would rival the Mount Lyell mine at Queenstown.  Some said that … Read moreThe Colebrook Fiasco – Part 3 – The fiasco

The Colebrook Fiasco – Part 2 – The dream of smelting in the forest

The Story So Far In 1897, three respected mining entrepreneurs announced that mine on Colebrook Hill would be greater than Mount Lyell.1  William Knox, William Orr and Herman Schlapp had helped create the massive Mount Lyell copper mine and had made their reputations in the early days of Broken Hill’s silver boom.2  They bought a … Read moreThe Colebrook Fiasco – Part 2 – The dream of smelting in the forest

The Colebrook Fiasco – part 1, the long and careful years

The wash in the creeks may carry gold, and lodes in the ridges be, But the pyritic ore of the copper belt it pleases most to see; Through the nameless scrub in the sun or rain we follow the luring quest. And cut our way with our tomahawks where the badger makes his nest. (Paul … Read moreThe Colebrook Fiasco – part 1, the long and careful years

The Long History of a Little West Coast Mine

There are a few things that I learnt during this hunt.  One is that a story chooses you and won’t let you go until you tell its history. It can wait a long time but it will get its story told.  Another is that once it gets hold it won’t let you go easily.  And … Read moreThe Long History of a Little West Coast Mine